London

Former London principal makes waves on Tik Tok

Catherine Zeisner was a teacher and principal with the Thames Valley District School Board for 20 years. Two years ago she moved to Spokane, Washington, where she is now an assistant professor of education at Gonzaga University.

Catherine Zeisner is closing in on 130,000 followers

A still from a Tik Tok video by former Thames Valley District School Board principal Catherine Zeisner. (Catherine Zeisner/Tik Tok)

Catherine Zeisner knows how to poke fun of herself. 

"In education, if you're not laughing, you're crying," said Zeisner from her apartment in Spokane, WA, where she's an assistant professor in education at Gonzaga University.

Along with much of the world, Zeisner has started posting short videos on the social media app, Tik Tok.

"I always try to know what kids are doing and going through. So, anytime something new comes along, I get (involved)."

Zeisner was a teacher and then a principal with the Thames Valley District School Board for 20 years before she moved to Spokane two years ago. Most recently, Zeisner was the principal at Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester. She also taught at Western University.

Now, she's sharing some of her experiences as a principal and the online posts are gaining a lot of traction.

"I just started to make videos that were a little bit better, they weren't just me talking, I sort of made them into little skits and added some props. I made a funny video about theme days, a little bit obnoxious about the number of theme days schools do," said Zeisner who is technically still employed by the Thames Valley board. On paper, her employment with the board ends on July 1st.

"I literally dressed up in my apartment one Sunday in 20 different costumes and it hit. People thought it was so funny," said Zeisner, whose Tik Tok account is closing in on 130,000 followers.

Zeisner is also posting about the administrative staff who support teachers and principals. 

"I've had phenomenal administrative assistants over the years and I really wanted to give them a shout out about how difficult it is to be in an office in a school."

Zeisner is hopeful people can find the joy in education while watching her videos.

"Kids are funny and kids are amazing," she said.

"I just thought, let's focus on some humour right now. I saw a lot of people struggling self-isolating, being alone, trying to home school, missing out, kids didn't get a full graduation, families not being able to celebrate achievements and I just thought, let's see if I can do my small part," Zeisner said.

"I'm very, very proud that people have been able to see themselves in it."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 20 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna. Contact Rebecca at rebecca.zandbergen@cbc.ca or follow @rebeccazandberg on Twitter.

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